Info's 'Mega Quiz' memorabilia still lingers, Sways minds with happy memories

Shekhar Dutta

The sensational 13th edition of All Tripura Open Mega Quiz', organized by states highest-accessed news website came off with a bang on December 23, 2018. As anticipated well in advance, people including quiz participants, their parents from across the state as well as from as far-flung places as Guwahati, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and USA had converged on Agartala Town Hall on December 23rd, 2018 morning to partake of the intellectual exchanges on a wide range of subjects in the 'Mega Quiz', so ably conducted by quiz masters, Abhijit Bhattacharjee and Nandu Panicker. The question-answer session encompassing visuals as well as audio clips was a testimony to the intellectual advancement and information gathering by young quiz buffs of Tripura.

The jam-packed audience sat all through from 9-30 in the morning till 10-00 in the night and enthusiastically took part in the long session on questions and answers. There was a lot to enthuse them all through as the quiz masters, Abhijeet Bhattacharya and Nandu Panikkar and three other quiz coordinators cum anchors  like Madurima Bhattacharjee, Aparajita Modak and Pramita Bhattacharya   held them captive with sterling performances interspersed with a brief three-question session held by Dr M.J.Panikkar, an ophthalmologist currently based in the middle-eastern country of Oman. Dr Panikkar had been closely associated with the 'Mega Quiz' of as an accomplished quiz master. All three questions however elicited correct answers from Tripura's enlightened audience. Two mothers had come with their sons from Belonia and Dharmanagar to take part in the quizzing programme as had others. It was a grand success all the way , as earlier.

The leading lights of state's enlightened citizenry who had adorned the Town Hall included leader of the opposition and former chief minister Manik Sarkar, ruling BJP's MLAs, young Sushanta Chowdhury and veteran doctor Dilip Das, state women commission chair-person Barnali Goswami, former deputy speaker Pabitra Kar,  and  BJP general secretary Rajiv Bhattacharjee. While the leader of the opposition and former chief minister Manik Sarkar was at his usual best in articulation, appreciating's consistency in annually organizing the 'Mega Quiz', the BJP MLAs Sushanta Chowdhury and Dr Dilip Das briefly but eloquently expressed their appreciation and promised to extend all possible co-operation to the event.

A host of leading bureaucrats including additional chief secretary GSG Ayyangar, ADG of Tripura Police Rajiv Sing, Justice (Retd)  Utpalendu Bikash Saha, Law Secretary Data  Mohan Jamatia,  Member state Police accountability Commission Shri Pranay Sahai, Former Principal secretary Banamali Sinha, Nepal Sinha, Renowned Child Specialist  Dr. Bikash Roy, Renowned sergeant Ajay Saha, Principal Techno Engineering College Kisor Roy, Agartala and many renowned journalists, educationists, advocates, professors, doctors, bureaucrats and technocrats were also present in the daylong programme.
It took longer than anticipated for the daylong programme to conclude but the delay had a lot to do with sessions on questions based on audio-video clippings and the time taken in distribution of hundreds of attractive prizes. But all ended well as packed audience waited and enjoyed till the last moment the battle of information and wits. There was a lingering sense of sadness  as the curtain was finally drawn on the excitable programme.

Quizzing as a positive form of enlightened entertainment is said to have commenced in the USA through programmes of Voice of America in the thirties of the last century. But in India this had taken wings  through the initiative of late Neil Obrien (father of West Bengal's Trinamool MP Dereck Obrien) who was the India head of Oxford University Press (OUP) in the sixties .But quizzing really got a shot in the arms from the year 2000 when the 'Star Plus' TV channel had launched the 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' (KBC) with legendary Amitabh Bachhan as the prime anchor. Since then the Sony TV has been periodically organizing this attractive programme and quizzing now is the buzz-word in the intellectual circles. Amidst all this,, state's highest-accessed website ,had launched 'Mega Quiz' in the year 2006 to commemorate the five years of its existence but the programme has caught on and this year was the thirteenth consecutive year of the mega event with audience interest growing by leaps and bounds every year.

Snippets galore still hold the audience in a thrall even though four days have passed.There was a middle-aged lady Madhumita Bhattacharya, radiating a smart elegance, who had correctly answered a question. In the brief individual award distribution session, the lady fascinated the audience by proudly introducing herself as a 'home-maker' and a 'mother'. A senior bureaucrat in the Town Hall mumbled at once 'Pituratyadhika Mata,Garva Dharana Poshanat , Ato Hi Trishu Lokeshu , Nasti Matri Sama Guru' (Mother is greater than even father, a mother carries her baby in her womb and nurtures it to life and maturity, no one is greater than a mother in the three domains of earth, sky and the nether world). A pleasant feeling overwhelmed the auditorium as every one recalled also the ageold adage 'Janani Janma Bhumishcha Swargadopi Gariyasi'. (Mother and mother land are greater than even heaven). 

Little Mahi Debnath , daughter of MD , Jayanta Debnath and student of class I in Auxilium Girls school, muttered the correct answer to query for identification of multi-coloured mountain in China. Mahi was right but another boy had overtaken her by shouting the answer through microphone and won the prize by identifying the mountain-albeit correctly-as 'Rainbow Mountain'. A senior and retired bureaucrat had pointed this out but the matter was passed over as little Mahi made no fuss over it. 

There was a special prize designated as  'Best Audience' for the one among the well-informed spectators who would be able to give the maximum number of correct answers. Sayan Naha, a higher grade student of the Holy Cross school, bagged the coveted prize by answering three difficult questions correctly, the last of which was 'Mix and Match' between celebrated film actresses , Sharmila Tagore of yester-years and her star daughter Soha Ali Khan. 

The cash prize of Rs 10 thousand was bagged by Debapratim Sarkar by replying with impeccable accuracy a tough question on the importance of the day of 23d December. 'On this day world farmers day is celebrated across the world but in the USA this day is celebrated as national roots day' said Debapratim promptly. There were also other delightful and hilarious anecdotes as a college student, asked to name the film after viewing the audio-clip of a song, reeled off from memory the name of the film, its music director, lyricist and director. A little toddler mounted the dais enthusiastically and gave a correct reply but added that he had got the answer from his elder brother sitting by in the auditorium. Both the brothers were rewarded. Besides, Dr Arijit Das, the world-renowned chemistry scholar , was pleasantly surprised as a student of chemistry honours student from MBB college correctly replied to his query on 'bonding', a special chapter of chemistry. He won a cash prize of Rs 2 thousand and blessings of Dr Arijit Das. 

The 'Mega Quiz' had struck such a chord with the quiz buffs that Dr Basav Ghosh, famous diabetologist of Agartala, Saugata Bhattacharjee , a software engineer from Bengaluru and ONGCs chief PRO Sanjib Sharma had paid for a large number of prizes. Saugata had come come all the way from Bengaluru to Agartala to be present on the occasion while Sanjib Sharma had to make do with dispatching the prizes from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. Enormously satisfying was the fact that the 'Mega Quiz' was 'Vini Vidi Vici' : 'I came, I saw and I conquered', literally. Last but certainly not the least was the stellar role played by two great quiz masters of the state, Abhijit Bhattacharjee and Nandu Panicker.    

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